Sharing’s in the spotlight at The Promiscuous Fork in La Jolla

By Kelley Carlson

When friends Craig Sewall and Ray Penfield were developing a concept and name for a business, they turned to their wives for inspiration: Both women had a tendency to “sample” from everyone’s plates during meals. With the idea of interacting and sharing in a fun environment in mind, Sewall and Penfield launched The Promiscuous Fork.

The restaurant's most popular burger is The June Gloom with jalapeños, cream cheese, smoked bacon, mayonnaise, tomato, onion and lettuce. Here, it's served with a side of Sonoran Corn Salad.

Initially started as a catering business in 2008, it expanded four years later to include a restaurant in a modest, unpretentious space on La Jolla Boulevard.
“This area needed a little neighborhood place,” said Sewall, a La Jolla resident. The eatery was designed to be laid back with that “beach vacation” vibe found in exotic locations like Belize, Mexico and Hawaii. The neutral-toned dining room showcases natural woods and bamboo, and the walls portray rotating galleries of paintings and photos by local artists.

The flat-screen TV over the bar alternates its programming between sports and comedies, and film aficionados may appreciate the chalk-written movie quote of the week that’s located to its left. Further entertainment is provided by the lively cooks, who can be observed through a large, glass-covered opening that is bordered by the words “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere.” Guests who want to join in on the staff’s playful banter can sit on the dog-friendly patio and chitchat with them through the screen window.

Overall, it’s a cozy setting, seating only  25 people.
“It’s so small, people are forced to talk to each other,” Sewall said.

People socialize outside The Promiscuous Fork.

But as a result, people strike up friendships and often return to the restaurant for meetups.

The Promiscuous Fork can go from zero to full in just minutes; there’s usually a lunch rush and it’s bustling around 6 p.m. for dinner. But if there’s no room to sit, no problem — customers can set up a picnic at nearby Windansea Beach or just take the food home. Almost 40 percent of the orders are to go, Sewall noted.

The fare (served in baskets) is more upscale than the standard burgers and fries, and people can’t seem to resist sharing their orders among each other, Sewall said.
The signature dish is the aromatic Lamb Lollipops, a favorite among grown-ups and kids. The tender meat — still on the bone — is dusted with Cajun spices, grilled and topped with a balsamic-hoisin reduction.

But the bestseller is The Best Fork’n Chicken Sandwich Ever — a chicken breast with a spicy combination of roasted green-chili dressing and habañero pesto, bacon, shredded lettuce and white cheddar cheese, between slices of toasted bread.

The Best Fork’n Chicken Sandwich Ever has roasted green chili dressing and habañero pesto, bacon, shredded lettuce and white cheddar cheese, and comes with coconut-jalapeño rice. Photos Kelley Carlson

For burger lovers, the most popular selection is The June Gloom. It’s stacked with jalapeños, cream cheese, smoked bacon, mayonnaise, tomato, onion and lettuce. And a hot special that’s being permanently added to the menu is the Ring of Fire (intense enough to make the cooks’ eyes water), which includes jalapeños, onions and a smoky, spicy cream sauce.

To accompany the sandwiches, there is coconut-jalapeño rice, Sonoran corn salad or Mom’s Macaroni Salad. Seasonal salads are also available and the cooks will prepare foods for youngsters such as grilled cheese and quesadillas.
Meanwhile, The Promiscuous Fork continues to cater in San Diego and Orange counties and can create platters for pickup.
Sewall and Penfield also said they are actively looking for a second restaurant location.
“We have a lot of fun here,” Sewall said. “The regulars love it because of that. And we’re so small, they know us by name. We want people to come in and have a good experience.”

The Promiscuous Fork
Address: 6984 La Jolla Blvd.

Phone: (858) 454-3663


The Vibe: Casual, relaxed
Signature Dish: Lamb Lollipops, The Best Fork’n Chicken Sandwich Ever, The June Gloom Burger
Open Since: 2012
Reservations: No
Patio Seating: Yes
Take Out: Yes
Happy Hour: No

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday

On The Menu Recipe

Each week you’ll find a recipe from the featured restaurant online at Just click Get The Recipe at the bottom of the story.

This week: The Promiscuous Fork’s Jalapeño Poppers

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  3. Roy Yamaguchi’s Pacific Rim Cuisine in La Jolla reinvents its fusion fare
  4. Naked Cafe keeps it simple and natural and casual
  5. Smart prices and products behind new dining concept at Urban Plates in Carmel Valley

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Posted by Staff on Jul 9, 2013. Filed under Food, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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